"Shakespeare and Laurence Olivier" is the subject for the film screening and discussion with Richard Alleva on Saturday, March 26 at 1:00pm. in The Hubbard Room at Russell Library, 123 Broad Street, Middletown.
During the first 15 years of the “talkies”, static camerawork, pompous acting and waxworks staging delivered the Bard’s plays dead on arrival to bored audiences. Then a young actor, Laurence Olivier, returning to wartime Britain after a brief, meteoric career in Hollywood, was tasked by Winston Churchill to take Shakespeare’s patriotic play, Henry V, and turn it into a spectacle that would be both effective propaganda and great art. Shakespeare on screen has never been the same since.
Commonweal Magazine’s film critic, Richard Alleva, will show scenes from all three of Olivier’s adaptations –Henry V, Hamlet, and Richard III—and discuss the techniques that made them both memorable and groundbreaking. The afternoon will conclude with a long excerpt from Othello, Olivier’s most controversial performance, acclaimed in Britain as the greatest performance of the Moor in a century, and denounced in America as grotesque and racist.
The film series is part of the Shakespeare 400 Passport in partnership with ArtFarm.
Drop-in, no registration.
This series is funded by The Friends of the Russell Library.